Sustainable waste management is vital to fishing and aquaculture industries and here’s why…

Healthy oceans are crucial for supporting our growing and evolving economic, social, and environmental needs. Commercial fisheries and aquaculture industries play an important role in Canada’s economy and society, employing around 28,452 fish harvesters and farmers in 2020, generating $8.79 billion in 2021, and supporting 7 million Canadians living in coastal communities.  

As a part of their necessary operations, fishing and aquaculture industries have needed to use large amounts and many types of gear (e.g. rope, lobster traps, crab pots, oyster cages, nets, etc.) to fish and farm safely and successfully. When this gear is no longer safe and/or useful for fishing or farming, due to damage or wear and tear, it becomes what is known as “end-of-life” fishing and/or aquaculture gear.

Since around the 1960s, gear manufacturers have been incorporating more and more virgin plastics in their products, as it was a major cost-effective innovation of the time. But the major problem is that these gear manufacturers did not Design for Environment. Nor did no other entity create and implement an effective closed loop product life cycle to responsibly recycle or even manage the end-of-life gear at the same time. As a result, we have unintentionally created a continually growing waste management problem with costly economic, social, and environmental consequences.  

Now, more than ever, our fishing and aquaculture industries need sustainable solutions for managing their different end-of-life gear types and quantities – and the FGCAC, along with our partners and members, have led many of these solutions.